"Environment" research area

Kinetics of Biofilms for Treatment of Airborne Organic Pollutants

Primary Investigator - Ping WangPrimary Investigator: Ping Wang
Co-Investigators: Joshua Goering (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
Industry Partners: NA
Award Type: Undergraduate Research Scholar 

Problem: Airborne organic pollutants present greatly concerned threats to both human health and the environment.  Efficient and sustainable onsite treatments for air quality control against very diluted pollutants are highly desired, yet not well developed yet. 

Solution: Biodegradation of airborne organic pollutants (volatile organic compounds) using carbon fiber-supported biofilms was recently proven efficient in our lab for air clean up against VOC pollutions, in that it can achieve complete degradation of the VOC with minimum energy requirement and in a safe and sustainable manner.  The new process involves no bulk phase aqueous solutions, different from traditional biodegradation systems where large quantities of precious water is demanded.  The reaction kinetics for such a gas-biofilm reaction system is a new subject to be explored, and will provide basic info for future development of such biofilms reactors. This project aims to establish fundamental kinetic data and analysis for such a biodegradation system. 

Impact: The proposed kinetic studies are expected to establish theoretical basis for evaluation and design of biofilm reactors using nontraditional gaseous substrates.  Such reactors, easy to operate and can be applied in a sustainable pattern at adjustable scales for air pollution treatment against VOC emission, protecting both human health and the environment.